Many of your basic questions about recording are answered in my articles for The Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA). Check out their site at Years of A Cappella wisdom is stored in the archives of the Community Forum of RARB/CASA.

For those who really want to learn the nuts and bolts in an intensive "hands-on" situation, Deke Sharon and I give a seminar called "Soup To Nuts" twice a year - click here for more info!

  • How should I send files to you?

    Via a Web-based transfer service (such as WeTransfer, Dropbox, etc), FTP, FedEx, UPS, regular mail, or carrier pigeon.

    Dropbox, Copy, and Web Transfers:

    The address for all hard media, correspondence, and holiday cards is:

    Bill Hare
    4001 Calaveras Road
    Milpitas, CA 95035-7202
  • What do I need to send to you to complete my mix?

    1. Either Pro Tools sessions, or (if not Pro Tools) consolidated wav or aif files all starting from the beginning of the session (i.e. if there is one extra alto part that happens 2 minutes into the song, that file should be the same length as the others - 2 minutes of blank space, the little part, then blank to the end of the song.)

    2. Include a tempo map (usually built-in for Pro Tools sessions) by sending along the original MIDI file you recorded with. If it wasn't done with a MIDI file, then indicate tempo and tempo/meter change info.

    3. If a cover song, include a copy of the original version. If the sheet music is available as a .PDF file, include that as well.

    4. Clean out all unneeded material, playlists, etc. from your session. Sometimes I'll get sessions as large as 8GB, but less than 1GB of that info is actually used. If you don't know how to do this, ask someone who knows how or read the manual!
  • How can I best organize the files for you so I save the most time and money?

    1. Name files and tracks clearly, using voice parts if possible. Tenor 2b will mean more to me than "Joe".

    2. Keep similar tracks together (or name non-Pro Tools tracks so that they will group together alphabetically or numerically.) I spend a lot of time just trying to find stuff in sessions where 2 people are singing the same part 20 channels apart from each other.

    3. When people split into other parts (such as a tenor alternating between T2 and T1) Split up his channels so that his T1 parts are with the other T1s, and his T2 parts are with the other T2s. More channels with parts organized is much easier to deal with than less channels and parts changing all the time.

    4. Don't wait until the morning you are booked to send me your session! I know there is a lot of last minute stuff to do, but give yourself a deadline of a week or so before the actual mix session to finish all of your work, and send it off to me. This way I can check the files ahead of time and make sure they are readable and complete. If they aren't, then you'll have time to fix the problem on your end, rather than pay me for unproductive time tracking down lost files or trying to pry open an unreadable disc! This happens a lot more often than you would think - there is a lot that can go wrong without you knowing it, and we only discover it when the clock starts ticking!

    5. Put channels in this order, if possible:

    Kick (aka bass) Drum
    High Hats
    Tom Fills
    Cymbal crashes/rides
    other percussion (hand claps, shakers, etc.)
    Basses (or whatever your bottom vocal part is)
    Harmonies and auxiliary parts

    For non-Pro Tools channels, you can keep tracks in order by starting with a number:

    01 kick.wav
    02 snare.wav
    42 alto 1c
    61 Lead Vocal

    One reason that files can be missing from a Pro Tools session is that sometimes audio gets linked to another folder or hard drive - there are many reasons this can happen, usually due to operator oversight. The best way to (almost) guarantee that all your files are in the audio folder is to do the "copy session in..." command in Pro Tools: With the session open, pull down under "file" to "copy session in..." and make a copy of the session which includes all audio and fade files. This will copy audio from where the individual files live and place them all into one folder, which can then more safely be cleaned out (see above) and zipped up for transfer.

    Also, see this article:
  • How can I provide input on a mix that is happening away from where I live?

    While you are always welcome to come to the studio and sit here while I mix, I know that it's not always practical to do so. In those cases (which is actually the norm rather than the exception these days) we will do the mixes in a series of "drafts". I will get an idea from you the sort of things you want (or don't want) as part of your mix, and also use my decades of experience to help create the best mix and character for the song, arrangement, performance level, and voices. A few hours later, I will put this file in a hidden area of my website unique to your project. You can listen to it there and start making comments, as well as send your group members and anyone else there whose opinions you would want. I also will get some unbiased opinions from a trusted circle of some of the best A Cappella experts out there, as well as general A Cappella fans who will listen with a different perspective than those of us who are paying attention to minute details - sometimes missing the forest for the trees!

    After collecting and assessing this data, we can do subsequent drafts if necessary and refine the mix, getting opinion on each draft to make sure we are going in a positive direction.
  • Where Can I Find More Tips and Tricks?

  • What kind of Espresso machine do you have?

    A DeLonghi Lattissima Plus...

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